The obsession of social and natural scientists with globalization has not been matched by equal interest in the study of the consequences of local environmental change on society. As a result, our attention has been drawn away from community and locality to global processes often indifferent to the reality of those at the receiving end of the social, economic, and political problems globalization creates. Larger (global) synthesis obscures local reality, and imposes conditions often insensitive to local needs, resource management institutions, and production systems, even distorting them. The case studies presented in this book illustrate how environmental degradation has contributed to the distortion of local institutions and economies, thus denying local communities the right to eke out their living in a productive and healthy environment. The contributors highlight the seriousness of the difficulties involved in conflating national policies and local reality, and imposing global policy instruments on local communities. Understandably, the case studies demonstrate that local communities resist putting their faith in environmental policies and plans imposed on them by global or national institutions that often deprive them of access to and control over their local environment.
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